Wasting vs. Investing

I am not a wasteful person. This is a principal that drives my life. We feed the food scraps at our house to animals. We recycle what we can. We use our animal’s waste in the garden. I try to buy exactly the amount of everything we need for the month and end the month with empty pantries. I don’t even like being early to anything because in my mind, that means I’ve wasted time when I could have been doing something else (sleeping!).


Sometimes this quality of not being wasteful is good. It can help the environment, save our family money, etc. But the Lord has been showing me over the last few months that sometimes “wastefulness” is not bad. What might at first appear to be wasteful is actually not. When considered with a Kingdom filter, it is actually an investment.


For example, I’ve co-hosted a life group in my home for a year now for women and children who want to get together and have bible study. What a blessing it has been! God has taught me so many wonderful lessons through this group, and one of them is about hospitality. Hospitality has been a family value for Derek and I for many years, but I will always have something to learn in this area, because everyone experiences hospitality differently.


When I first began hosting this life group, I wanted to make “just enough” coffee for our time together. It sounds so silly! But when you go to make a pot of coffee, and you think to yourself, “How much should I make?”, I would count the number of women and make just enough for each woman to have a cup. That seemed rational. I don’t want to waste 6 cups of coffee when we’re done by pouring it down the sink.


But if my priority is providing a hospitable environment - and coffee definitely equals hospitality in my book! – then making an extra 6 cups of coffee to make sure there is plenty for everyone to have one more cup and fellowship a little longer is an investment. Even if no one even thinks twice about it, it is saying, “I don’t mind potentially wasting $0.50 of coffee, because you’re worth it!” Such a silly principle, but lets go a little further.


How do we feel when our two year old demands time to button and zip his own pants when we’re rushing to get out the door? Is that a waste of time, or is it investing patience into him to teach him he can do it himself? The 5 minutes is an investment, not a waste.


What about if you have an opportunity to share a word of encouragement or offer a prayer with someone? It could be a waste of time and a waste of -gasp!- your comfort. They might say no. They might laugh. They might offer ten reasons why it’s wrong to impose on them. But isn’t it worthy of an investment of your time, concern, and comfort anyways?


I realize that the parable of the sower and the soil has many, many applications and I get something new from it each time I read it (Matthew 13). Recently, it hit home to me in the story that the sower sowed his seed lavishly, not caring about the type of soil it fell on. He doesn’t judge the quality of the soil before casting his seed, and neither should I. And the best news? We have a NEVER ENDING supply of seeds! We can hold our hand out to the Lord, and He will always fill it up with his exceeding and abundant storehouse of love, peace, joy, and every other type of seed we need. Philippians 4:19 reminds us, “My God shall supply ALL of your need.” And then we can turn around and sow that seed abundantly in hopes that it all will come to harvest. For each seed that takes root, a return of 30, 60, or 100 seeds! That’s what I call a good investment.


Ladies – may we sow lavishly in obedience to Him today, regardless of our emotions or the worthiness of the situation needing that seed. It is not wasteful – it is a Kingdom investment!

Carol Hines